What began as an informal full moon night training run for the Javelina Jundred, has evolved into an event all its own. I ran the Javelina Night Run back in 2005 when it was a completely self supported affair, loosely organized by Javelina Jundred founder and race director Geri Kilgariff. It was my first true night trail run and I remember the magic and adventure of running around the Pemberton Trail under the full moon with friends. Coyotes were howling, I could shut off my headlamp halfway through the run and there was even a night mountain bike ride going on in the opposite direction we were running. That was back before I ran my first ultra, but it helped to pave the way for my introduction into the sport. Running further than a half marathon at night completely self supported took me outside of my comfort zone.
After we took over the Javelina Jundred in 2008, we decided to put a little more into the night run and it has slowly evolved into what it is today, a 25 Km, 50Km, 75Km and 100Km around the Pemberton Trail at night under the full moon. This year was our largest showing ever, with 257 runners taking to the trails around sunset. Just as this was my first introduction to night trail running and my first exposure to the ultra running community, we hope this event will pave the way for many runners to get out of their comfort zones and experience something amazing.
The new format this year replaces the previous 12 hour format in lieu of defined distances. We now have separate start times for each distance and an overall 14 hour cutoff for the 100 Km. Drop downs (or upgrades for those brave enough) are allowed and results are posted reflecting the switching. There is also now a full aid station at the Pemberton Trailhead, full aid station at Granite Tank half way around the loop and pizza and pint glasses for all runners at the finish!
The men’s 25Km race was close with the top three finishing within 4 minutes of each other. Brian Folts (multiple time DRT trail series race winner) crossed the line first in 1:44 followed two minutes later by Nick Goodman and then Ryan Petry. The women’s race wasn’t quite so close, with speedy Lauren Besenfelder taking the top spot with a 2:08 lap followed by masters runner Lisa Raykowski in 2:13. A total of 169 runners finished one loop, many whom experienced their first night trail run!
The 50K with its 13 hour cutoff is a nice option for runners who want a generous cutoff and ideal running conditions for unique night ultra. There were 74 finishers in the 50K with Trent Taylor of Mesa taking first, sneaking in under the 4 hour mark with a 3:57. Bret Sarnquist of Flagstaff was second in 4:05. Jumping from a half-marathon up to her first ultra distance race and taking the win was 22 year old Erin Lostracco of Scottsdale who finished in 4:42. She was followed up by Laura Encinas of Phoenix who finished with a 5:05.
In the unique 75Km distance (about 46.6 miles) we had a dozen finishers, two of which were women. Jason Underwood of Casa Grande took the win in 8:26, followed by Daren Sandbank of Oro Valley in 8:48. Our first female finisher was Becky Iammarino of Surprise who was 3rd overall in 8:50.
Out of 21 starters in the 100 Km race, we had a very low finisher rate of only 3 runners! Most decided to drop down to shorter distances for one reason or another. This makes the Javelina Night Run 100Km come out with a lower finisher % than the same day’s Mogollon Monster 100 mile! Dov Greenberg was our top finisher in 12:21, followed by Eric Bonilla in 12:41 and Matt Long in 12:53.
With the night run complete, we now turn our attention towards our premier event on the Pemberton Trail, the Javelina Jundred which will be held October 27-28 under the full moon!
The 3rd edition of the McDowell Mountain Frenzy comes to McDowell Mountain Regional Park this weekend, taking place mainly on the “competitive track” mountain bike courses first built in 1998. The competitive tracks feature rolling hills, narrow single track, banked turns, and several named “features” including “T-Bone Ridge” (the final climb in the 25 Km & 50 Km courses), “The Chunnel” (a horse tunnel/bridge featured in all races), “Double Dip” (two steep descents at the start of the race), and “Cactus Corner” (aid station on the far southwest corner of the 10 mile course).
The 5 Km race is the shortest in the DRT series and follows the Sport Loop, featuring a single loop around “T-Bone Ridge” before descending through the “Clay Pit” just before climbing back up to the finish. The 10 Mile is a combination of the Sport Loop, Technical and Long Loops, taking the outermost line around the entire competitive track. The 25 Km race begins with the 10 mile course and then continues on to an additional 5.5 mile loop made of the Sport and Technical Loops. The race finishes with a bone crunching climb over “T-Bone Ridge” and a final screaming descent into the finish.
50 Km runners will run the 25 Km course with the addition of a figure eight “spur” out into the main park trail system and the Dixie Mine on the far West side of the course. 50 Km runners will depart the 25 Km course at the Gate Aid Station at mile 4, run a service road out to the Pemberton Trail junction and head in the clockwise direction out towards the Coachwhip trail. After turning down Coachwhip and visiting the Dixie Mine itself (Aid Station with drop bags located here), return to the Pemberton Trail via the Dixie Mine trail and continue again in the clockwise direction to the Tonto Tank Trail. A quick trip down the Tonto Tank will return you to the Pemberton Trail where you will again go clockwise back to the service road and the Gate Aid Station.
50 Kilometer Race
This will be the largest 50 Km so far in the DRT Series (currently 56 registered runners) and a large increase from last year’s inaugural MMF 50K which had 33 finishers. Current course records are held by Don Helfer (4:30) and Paulette Zillmer (4:47). In the women’s race, all 3 women leading the DRT Ultra series are registered to run (Deb Hamberlin, Margaret Dehesse and Carin Schmidt). Tony Delogne of Sedona is the pre-race favorite for the men with a win at last year’s Pass Mountain 50K, but will be followed close by Flagstaff’s Scott Bajer who has been up near the front of this year’s CCT and PM runs. Expect Tamas Varga, Jordan McKnight and Jeremy Schmuki to be in the mix as well.
25 Kilometer Race
The 25 Km course will stay the same for the 3rd straight year, but the field continues to grow. There were 56 finishers last year and currently 80 entrants for this weekend’s race. Try not to curse the course designer too much as you climb the final hill over T-Bone Ridge! Watch for Lauren Besenfelder to run away with the women’s race as she steps up to the 25 Km distance from last year’s 2nd place in the MMF 10 Mile. The men’s race should be closer, with a solid Paul Kramer running against last year’s MMF 10 mile winner Brian Dunn. These guys better keep an eye out for out of stater Kevin Tuck from Salt Lake City, Utah who has won several events in Utah over the past few years including Moab’s Red Hot 33K and the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K.
10 Mile Race
The 10 mile race is a fast, rolling course with a winning time just under 1:10 last year! Lisa Raykowski and Melanie Zeese should be up at the front of the women’s race this year as both have run well at PM and CCT this year. Brian Wieck, founder and race director of the Pemberton 50K and last year’s MMF 10 mile runner up is the pre-race favorite in the 10 mile.
5 Kilometer Race
The 5 Km race is a bit small this year, likely due to the Sally Meyerhoff 5K sharing the same day, but will feature Tim Merritt who has run 1st and 2nd at the CCT 10 Km and PM 11 Km respectively.
Registration for all events will be available online through midnight on Tuesday, December 6, at packet pickup on Thursday, December 8 at iRun from 4-7PM or on race morning at McDowell Mountain Regional Park 6-8:15AM.
We’ll be hosting a live web cam of the finish line and instant results on race day through our Ultracast for family and friends back home.
It’s not every day you can simultaneously run a 100 mile race and watch as both the existing male and female course records vanish before your eyes. Participants in this year’s Javelina Jundred witnessed a rare event this November as both Hal Koerner and Evan Honeyfield went under the previous best time of 14:20 set by Dave James in 2009 and Liza Howard dismantled Jamie Donaldson’s best of 17:11 set in 2010. Javelina’s unique “washing-machine” style (reverse direction each lap) repeats the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail, allowing not only for the elite runners to see where they stand against their competition, but also for the rest of the field to watch the race up front unfold. This year’s full moon schedule pushed the race into mid-November, allowing for cooler daytime temperatures and ideal running conditions, albeit a few late night / early morning showers.
When Geri Kilgariff (race founder) first promoted the Javelina Jundred to the ultra community back in 2003, she dubbed it the “fast 100″, “virgin 100″, “slowpoke 100″, “goof-off 100″ and “DNF-redemption 100″. Geri admits that the six and a half loop race in the desert (modeled after the existing Pemberton 50K) started as a sick joke to be played on unassuming runners who would be tortured into running the monotonous loop repeatedly day and night. Going along with the “spirit” of this joke, a fun party atmosphere was born that first year that has earned Javelina a reputation as 100 mile trail running’s weird, eclectic brother. Costumed runners circling the desert, a “best ass” award handed out to a runner showing their “full moon”, a Jalloween / “Day of the Dead” theme, loads of pumpkin pie and plenty of purposeful misspellings don’t exactly focus energy towards promoting any sort of legitimate athletic competition. Despite this, Javelina has drummed up some of the best runners in the country each year looking for a warm, late season race to close out the year.
A fast field of Javelina “virgins” (100 mile champions in other races) including Jay Aldous, Zach Gingerich, Hal Koerner, Liza Howard and Evan Honeyfield took advantage of the mild race morning conditions, all finishing their first lap within minutes of each other. Talk of course record splits were already in the air as these five reversed direction and headed back out on Loop 2. Hal Koerner assumed the lead shortly thereafter and built up a 5 minute lead, finishing his first 50K in 3:50. Evan, Zach and Jay essentially came in together in 3:56 and Liza wasn’t far behind in 4:04 (just 2 minutes off the Pemberton 50K course record). Hal continue to run very consistent laps, completing 46.2 miles in 5:49, 61.6 miles in 7:56, 77 miles in 10:10, 92.4 miles in 12:25 and setting a new course record in 13:47:43. This was Hal’s second sub 14 hour 100 mile finish time this year.
Evan stayed close in Hal’s shadow, between 6-14 minutes back through the remainder of the race, and also finished under Dave James’ course record in 14:00:59. Jay faded a bit, but finished strong with the 4th fastest time ever on the course in 15:20:56, establishing a very stout master’s record. Despite having ample access to diet soda on the course, Zach Gingerich couldn’t pull his race together and was spat out at mile 77. Liza continued her stellar race, putting down splits of 6:21 at mile 46.2, 8:50 at mile 61.6, 11:29 at mile 77, 14:08 at mile 92.4 and setting a new course record in 15:46:59. Liza finished 4th overall, ran the 6th fastest time ever on the course, and was an hour and 24 minutes under Jamie Donaldson’s 2010 record, adding a third sub 16 hour 100 mile time to her stellar running accomplishments.
Mark Matyazic from Irvine, California rounded out the top 5 with a 100 mile PR of 16:34 and his 3rd straight Javelina finish, while Brenda Corona ran another consistent race, placing 2nd female and also setting a PR of 19:54 in her 5th straight Javelina Jundred finish.
Runners benefited from an additional aid station (Rattlesnake Ranch) and water only checkpoint (Tonto Tavern) on the course this year, meaning aid was an average of only 4 miles apart. While a storm was first predicted to hit the race on Saturday, the rain held off until early Sunday morning, but finally hit with a vengeance. A nice layer of clouds held off the seventy degree temperatures through the day, but the course turned cold, wet and muddy in places into the early hours on Sunday morning. Despite this, there were a total of 174 finishers of the full 100 mile distance and 126 more who opted for the 100 kilometer option.
Best female costume went to Kristin Searing who dressed as a peacock (complete with real feathers) in her first 100 mile finish and best male costume went to George Velasco who ran a full 100 kilometers wearing a toilet costume. Our youngest finisher was 24 year old Arizona local Michael Carson who finished his first 100 mile race in 18:53 and our oldest was 69 year old Todd Leigh from San Diego, California who completed his 2nd Javelina in 29:26.
Rumor has it that now former course record holder Dave James was seen celebrating (or maybe sulking) with a couple shots of tequila while out pacing in the evening after receiving word at the Tonto Tavern checkpoint that Hal Koerner just broke his 2 year old course record. We’re sure this will give Dave the needed motivation he needs to return next year and attempt to reclaim his title.
Although once dubbed the “goof-off 100”, the Javelina has quietly grown into the 3rd largest 100 mile race in the country, with 339 starters this year. If trends continue, the race will likely pass Western States in total numbers of starters by next year, scheduled for the full moon weekend closest to Jalloween, October 27-28, 2012.
The 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail within picturesque McDowell Mountain Regional Park served as the setting for this weekend’s Javelina 12 Hour night run hosted by Aravaipa Running. This gathering of Arizona’s ultra and trail running community kicked off at 6pm, just as the sun set behind the McDowell Mountains to the west of the park. Runners ranging in age from 15 to 76 set out to tackle anywhere from 1 to 4 loops on the trail. One of the unique features of this trail run is special permission to access the park’s trail system at night (trails normally close at sunset). Although flashlights were needed for the first two hours, the almost full moon eventually rose as runners neared the end of their first loop, offering spectacular views above Four Peaks.
Many runners used this event as training and simulation of the upcoming Javelina Jundred taking place on the same trail November 12-13. This is a great way to test out shoes, lighting, pacing strategies and nighttime conditions before the “big day”. Others were simply out to enjoy the trail or compete in their first ultra marathon. One other unique aspect of this event, is that runners do not have to declare how many laps they will be running in advance. Runners are free to continue accumulating laps up to the 12 hour time limit. As for top placing, if a runner continues on past a shorter distance, they are no longer eligible for that award, even if they technically had the fastest time of the night.
Now onto the race. 134 runners set out into the fading twilight promptly at 6pm with darkness quickly enveloping the dramatic mountain landscape in all directions. The first few miles of packed gravel trail meanders and rolls across the desert floor. The trail crosses through numerous dry wash beds that drain the imposing McDowell Mountains out to the Verde River.
As the runners made their way up the gradual first climb of the course, back at Javelina Jeadquarters, volunteers were busy preparing food, slicing pumpkin pie, and picking up pizza from nearby Fountain Hills. The normally quiet trail head was transformed into a colorful city of lighted tents, glowing orange, blue and white under the night sky. Family, friends and spectators assembled around the staging area, lining up chairs to watch the evening unfold and passing guesses on when and who the first runner would arrive over the hill. Time always seems to fly by at these endurance events, and before long shouts of “runner up” could be heard echoing across Jeadquarters. Tucson runner Brian Zacher came flying in just over 2:08 and Alex Kaine was one minute back. Loud cheering erupted out of the “stands” as bottles were quickly refilled and calories replenished. They both made a quick turnaround and headed back out the same way they just came in for their second loop (the course reverses direction each lap).
This year’s Angeles Crest 100 winner Paulette Zillmer was the top female in off the first loop and decided to call it a night, claiming the 25 Km award. Graham Bailey from Mesa was the top 25 Km runner, finishing in 2:22. Sixty runners returned back out on the course for their second lap. Geoffrey Foote was the top 50 Km finisher in a time of 5:10 and Rachel James completed her 50 Km in 5:17. A total of 32 runners completed the 50 Km ultra distance, including 76 year old Eugene Bruckert from Illinois!
Twenty-eight runners decided they didn’t get enough yet, and continued on. Brian and Alex who led on lap 1 stayed in the lead through 75 Km, but both had enough and decided not to head out on a fourth lap. Out of those 28, only three completed the 100 Km distance including winner Jay Danek who is training for his second 100 mile race next month at the Javelina Jundred, first time ultra runner Dov Greenberg, and two time Javelina Jundred finisher Mark Kirkby in a close third.
Thanks to all of the great volunteers who were out on the course and in the aid station serving up food and drinks for everyone!
To wrap up this year’s report, we’d like to give a few runner perspectives on the race. Jay Danek (who won the 100 Km), Christine Harrison and Nancy Ishizawa all offered up their take on the event:
As high temperatures dip into the nineties here in the Phoenix area, we are gearing up for the first race in Aravaipa’s fall race season. Our first event this year takes place in the rolling, mellow valley of Sonoran desert in between the McDowell Mountains and the Verde River. This area was first inhabited by nomadic hunters and later thousands of Hohokam Indians who made their home near the confluence of the Verde and Salt Rivers. Presently, it is home to McDowell Mountain Regional Park and the over 50 miles of scenic trails that meander through hills and across numerous desert washes that drain the McDowell Mountains.
The most well known trail in the park is the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail that makes a large loop across two-thirds of the park’s 21,099 acres, butting up against the north and west boundary lines with the town of Rio Verde and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve respectively. The trail head is centrally located along the east end of the loop close to the overall low point of 1800 feet. The trail climbs a steady 600 feet in either direction up to the high point of 2400 feet near Granite Tank and the north west corner of the park. It is comprised of mostly non-technical wide gravel trails and old jeep track making for nice running.
The Pemberton Trail has been a favorite of valley trail runners for many years as an “easy” and scenic long run especially with the stunning scenery of the McDowells, Superstitions, Four Peaks and Mazatzals surrounding the park. The fact that the trail’s high point is half way around the loop means there is always a nice easy downhill back to the trail head. It’s no surprise that in 2001 a two loop trail race was organized and dubbed the Pemberton Trail 50 Km. Two years later, a six and a half loop 100 miler was created by Geri Kilgariff and named the Javelina. For several years Geri held an unsupported training run under the full moon the month before the 100 giving runners a rare chance to see the trails at night, as they are normally closed at sunset.
This year’s Javelina 12 Hour night run will be held under the full moon on October 15-16, starting from the Pemberton trail head. With the full moon overhead, expect stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. When the moon is directly overhead, there is typically enough light to see the trail without using a flashlight or headlamp (but please bring one anyways)! There will be a fully stocked aid station at Granite Tank (mile 8.5 in the clockwise direction) and lots of goodies back at the start/finish. There is no set distance, so you choose how far you want to go at the race (1 to 4 loops). If you’re lucky, you might even spot a Javelina out on the trail.
At last year’s night run, we had three runners complete 100 Km (Tamas Varga, Brandon Wyatt, and Kris Milobar), twenty-eight runners complete 75 Km, forty-seven complete 50 Km, and one hundred four run 25 Km. The moon won’t rise until 8pm, so if you want to experience the full moon effect, be sure to head out on a second lap. Everyone who finishes at least 25 Km will receive a Javelina 12 Hour pint glass.
Here is a breakdown of the sunset and moon rise. Remember, we start at 6pm!
Saturday 15 October 2011 Mountain Standard Time SUN Sunset 5:54 p.m. End civil twilight 6:19 p.m. MOON Moonrise 8:06 p.m. Moonset 10:41 a.m. on following day
Phase of the Moon on 15 October: waning gibbous with 88% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.
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